Starwood to Bring Luxury to Milan

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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (HOT) announced the inclusion of Excelsior Hotel Gallia, Milan to its Luxury Collection portfolio. Excelsior Hotel Gallia, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Milan will reopen in November this year, after an extensive overhaul.

The hotel, which traces it roots way back to 1932, is owned by Katara Hospitality, a Qatar-based global hotel owner, developer and operator and will be the seventh hotel in Italy under The Luxury Collection brand. The current reopening shows that the hotelier continues its aggressive growth strategy to open more than 100 hotels globally in the next five years.

Additionally, Starwood’s Luxury Collection brand has renovated many properties in Italy in the recent past such as The Gritti Palace and Hotel Danieli in Venice. Further, Starwood restored Hotel Pitrizza and Hotel Romazzino in Costa Smeralda in Sardinia.

Excelsior Hotel Gallia is located at the Piazza Duca d’Aosta. The 235-room hotel will offer a signature restaurant, roof-top bar, lounge bar and cigar room, in addition to wellness facilities including a spa, indoor swimming pool and fitness centre. The hotel will also have an event and meeting space for business travelers. In our view, the location in downtown Milan will be a major crowd puller for the hotel.

Starwood currently has 21 hotels in Italy, representing five of its lifestyle brands – St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin and Four Points by Sheraton. In Milan, the company is set to launch W Milan in 2016.

Italy ranks high among the famous tourist destinations of Europe because of its rich cultural history and numerous tourist attractions. Particularly, the Milanese hospitality industry has been especially robust despite the economic recession in Italy. With moderate improvement in the economic situation in the beginning of this year, tourism is expected to receive a major boost. In our view, Starwood is striving to capitalize on this demand.

Starwood currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the hotel industry include Intercontinental Hotels Group plc (IHG), Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. (VAC) and Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (WYN). All these stocks have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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